1. Introduction

Representation of Interrogative Turns
in the DB ‘Intonation of Russian Dialog’
Sandro V. Kodzasov, Anastasija A. Bonch-Osmolovskaja, Leonid. M. Zakharov, Irina. M. Kobozeva
Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Moscow State Lomonosov University, Moscow, Russia
sancod@philol.msu.ru,abonch@philol.msu.ru, leon@philol.msu.ru, kobozeva@philol.msu.ru
Although semantic and pragmatic functions of intonation in
dialogical discourse and its correlation with syntax have been
extensively studied from different theoretical perspectives for
many languages including Russian still there was no linguistic
resource that would store representative dialogical material
simultaneously marked for prosodic, syntactic, semantic and
pragmatic features. In the report we present the first results of
the attempt to construct such a data base called “Intonation of
Russian dialogue” on the basis of the cognitive-discursive
approach to intonation functions with the help of modern tools
of phonetic analysis and demonstrate its interrogative
1. Introduction
This Modern theoretical and applied linguistics is
characterized by a rapid increase of interest in the problems of
dialogical interaction of different forms and genres. Intonation
plays a tremendous role in a dialog. Recent investigations in
prosody focus on the informational and discursive aspects of
intonation semantics and on the corresponding prosodic means
(see e.g. [1], [2], [3]). Not only tonal configurations, reflecting
modal and illocutionary properties of utterances but also
accent, phonation and timbre structures and their semantic and
discursive purport have become an object of study. In Russian
intonology such a complex analyses of intonation is only
beginning. We consider the adoption of such an a approach for
Russian language material important and productive. But until
now there has been no intonation data bases for Russian
corresponding to modern standards. That is why the
construction of an electronic information system based on the
latest achievements in this field is an urgent task.
Now such a system named “Intonation of Russian
Dialog” is under development at the Department of theoretical
and applied linguistics at MSU. We apply cognitive-discursive
approach in analyzing intonation functions and use modern
means for its phonetic analysis. The data are supposed to be
taken from the freely accessible audio-recordings of dialogical
texts as well as gathered especially for the system. The DB,
implemented in Microsoft Access environment, shall allow to
extract and to sort the data both by semantic and phonetic
parameters, to hear the pronounced utterances on line and to
observe their acoustic characteristics.
The process of the DB construction is divided into
steps according to dialogical micro-scenarios: question –
answer, request – reaction etc. At present only the first version
of the “interrogative component” of the system is available. So
we shall confine our discussion to this component.
For constructing a truly representative DB on
Russian interrogative dialogical turns a new comprehensive
classification of interrogative sentences (IS) was elaborated. It
takes into account the fundamental treatises of IS (theoretical
grammars, e.g. [4], and monographs, e. g. [5]) and other
papers concerning Russian IS and its scope was verified on the
list of 500 interrogative turns, selected from TV talk shows.
The classification is multi-aspectual in that it reflects
illocutionary, informational, syntactic and lexical properties of
IS. For the convenience of users the names of its classes are
close to traditional terminology and serve as one of the ways
to address the system. At the same time based on the same
data a comprehensive set of features was proposed for
characterizing surface syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and
discursive features of IS (see [6]) in order to permit in future
to study their correlation with intonation parameters (focal
accents, tone configurations, durations, tempo, phonations,
prosodic timbres, pausation).
At present the DB contains 264 files of dialogical IS
utterances characterized for their prosodic, lexical, syntactic,
semantic, pragmatic and discursive features.
2. Prosodic description of an IS in the DB
Each file of the DB has undergone intonation analyses and as a
result received a prosodic description in terms of prosodic
markers earlier introduced by S.V.Kodzasov for describing
intonation (see [7] and [8]). The distinctive feature of
Kodzasov’s system is the consistent differentiation of accents
and integral prosodies. More traditional description of Russian
intonation are given in terms of a restricted number of
standard intonation patterns that do not permit to reflect the
multi-dimensional character of utterance intonation that in its
own turn reflects various parameters of its meaning:
illocutionary, modal, evidential etc.
2.1. Notational conventions for prosodic description
In case a prosodic phrase (syntagm) has a salient marked
integral prosodic feature the former is enclosed in square
brackets. The closing brackets of such phrases are labeled with
capital letters in order of their linear position in IS: […]A
[…]B. In case some integral prosodic feature has a scope over
the boundaries of some smaller prosodic phrases this scope is
marked by additional square brackets and has its own label:
[[…]A […]B]C.
Vocalic center of the syllable which bears tonal
accent is marked by a number that follows the corresponding
vowel. The numbers are sequenced in linear order.
Asteriscs mark focal (loudness) accents: * for normal and **
for contrastive focal accent. These accents are determined
aurally because their reliable phonetic correlates remain yet
unknown. Normally focal accent appears in combination with
tonal one. But each of them can appear independently.
The lengthening of the vowel is marked with ~, and its
shortening is with “. If a vowel is followed with a digit,
then these signs precede the digit.
2.2. Representation of integral prosodic features
In the DB the following integral prosodic parameters of
phrases are distinguished and marked:
tone register: A= h (high) / sh (super-high) / l (low),
sl (super-low) / inc (inclination), dec (declination)
tempo: A = f (fast) / s (slow)
loudness: A = ld (loud) / lw (low)
phonation: A= asp (aspiration) / crk (creaky voice) /
ln (lenis) / fr (fortis)
peculiar reduction (in everyday communication with
“the likes of us”): A=rd
2.3. Representation of tonal accents
Tonal (pitch) accents in the DB are characterized by marking
the values of the following parameters:
direction: 1=/ (rising), \ (falling), /\ (rising-falling),
/= (rising- flat) etc. with possible “compositions” of
tonal accents, e.g. 1-2=/=\
register: \l (falling in low register), /l (rising in low
register),\h (falling in high register), /h (rising in
high register); neutral register is not marked
value of tone interval: 1=// or 1=\\ (extended interval
of about 1.0 octave), 1=/” or 1=\” (small interval of
about 3-4 semi-tones); neutral values (about 6-7
semi-tones) are not marked
localization on the accentuated syllable: 1= \C
(movement basically on the consonant), 1= \V
(movement basically on the vowel), /C\V (bidirectional movement on the consonant and the
vowel), 1=\NL (movement is not localized and is
performed on a string of syllables); neutral
localization of tone (movement within the non-final
part of a syllable) is not marked
co-phonation: tone movement may end with glottal
stop (1=/q or 1=\q); have a creaky voice on the
accentuated vowel(1=/crk or 1=\crk); end with
aspiration or have it on an accentuated vowel
(1=/asp or 1=\asp)
2.4. An example of prosodic indexation
An example Each file in DB contains a dialogical turn
that has at least one instantiation of an IS and has an
audition button, that enables one to hear the recording.
Access window for prosodic information has the
following zones:
1) File address with 3 positions: q (question), number,
m (musc.)/f (fem)
2) orthographic form of the IS;
3) prosodically indexed orthographic form of the IS;
4) deciphering of prosodic indexes for accents
5) deciphering of prosodic indexes for blocks
6) comments
Thus, we have the following prosodic representation for
one of the turns in our DB:
1) q22m
2) Вы сами придумали? Или это литературный
Вы *са1ми это придумали? || [Или это
*литерату2рный сюжет?]A
4) 1 = //; 2 = \\
5) A = inc
The other 4 Access windows give detailed surface-syntactic,
semantic, pragmatic and discursive information on each IS in
a dialogical turn (see [6]).
3. Conclusions
Thanks to its multi-dimensional character DB “Intonation
of Russian Dialog” may become a useful instrument for
further study of intonation in its correlation with different
parameters of utterance syntax and semantics. Indexation of
DB items in terms of values of these parameters also provides
the possibility to study their compatibility within IS and to
choose their most frequent combinations as well as to
determine intonation patterns that express semantic clusters.
4. Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the RGNF foundation for their help in
the form of the grant.
5. References
[1] Pierrehumbert, J. B. The Phonology and Phonetics of
English Intonation. MIT PhD Thesis. 1980-1988.
[2] Beckman, M. E. Stress and Non-Stress Accent
(Netherlands Phonetic Archives No. 7). Foris. (Second
printing, 1992, by Walter de Gruyter.)
[3] Selkirk, E. “Sentence Prosody: Intonation, Stress, and
Phrasing.'' In John A. Goldsmith, ed., The Handbook of
Phonological Theory, 1995, 550-569.
[4] Русская грамматика. Т.2 . М., 1980
[5] Рестан, П. Синтаксис вопросительного предложения.
Осло: Universitetsforlaget, 1968.
[6] Kobozeva, I. M. An essay in characterizing lexicalsyntactic, semantic and pragmatic propertiea of interrogative
dialogical turns in terms of features. Computational
Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies. International
Conference Dialogue’2005 Proceedings (Zvenigorod. June 17 2005)
[7] Кодзасов, С. В. Комбинаторная модель фразовой
просодии // Просодический строй русской речи. М., 1996.
[8] Кодзасов, С. В. Уровни, единицы и процессы в
интонации // Вопросы фонетики. Вып. 3. М., 1999.